Sunday, March 25, 2012

First steps to DXCC

While I have been a ham since 1997, and been active on HF since 2000, I have moved so many times that I've never officially earned my DXCC. I have worked well over 100 countries from various locations, and under various callsigns, but never enough from one place to earn my certificate.

So here I am in PA (W3 land) and I am starting all over again. I have ordered my new QSL cards and even put up a rather pathetic ground mounted screwdriver antenna with four radials to get me started.

I have been on a pactor kick lately, so went to the pactor watering hole on 20 meters, 14.111 CF. So I hooked up my SCS PTC-IIe to my Icom 746 and put out a rather pathetic 30 watts. As is normal with ARQ modes, you set the radio up to call CQ every minute or so and hope someone wants to chat and answers you. For my part, I swivel around in my chair and use another computer while calling and listen for connection noise in the form of the TX/RX relay in the rig to start clicking every few seconds.

I was watching a youtube video and this very thing happened. Imagine my surprise when I look at the screen and see not a US station, but one from across the Atlantic from England on my screen. G4APL was making a link and soon enough we were chatting amicably enough using pactor II. He was using a beam antenna and I was receiving good S8 signals. My signal, even with his beam was reaching him at S1 at best, so it was slow going at times. Still, even with repeats, with the 200 bps speed of Pactor 2 at it's most robust level, it was quite fast enough to have a keyboard to keyboard conversation.

A few days later I was at it again and this time I was able to work Peter OZ1PMX from Denmark, at first on pactor 2, and then on pactor 3. My signal was even worse into Denmark, so even the robust Pactor 2 was dropping the signal quite a bit. When we upshifted to pactor 3, we were able to maintain the link quite well.

So for DXCC, my first country was not the US, but England, and followed by Denmark. Last night I worked Brazil and the Maldera Islands for my third and fourth entities. One of these days I'll have to work the US. I am just hoping to get out there with a slightly better signal and finally get 100 countries from one place.

Until next time, 73.

No comments:

Post a Comment